Troubled Asset Relief Program
June 2009 Status of Efforts to Address Transparency and Accountability Issues : Report to Congressional Committees
Website or Online Data
GAO's fifth report on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) follows up on prior recommendations. It also reviews (1) activities that had been initiated or completed under TARP as of June 12, 2009; (2) the Department of the Treasury's Office of Financial Stability's (OFS) hiring efforts and use of contractors; and (3) TARP performance indicators. To do this, GAO reviewed signed agreements and other relevant documentation and met with officials from OFS, contractors, and financial regulators. Treasury continued to operationalize its more recent programs, including the Capital Assistance Program (CAP). As part of this program, the Federal Reserve led the stress tests of the largest 19 U.S. bank holding companies, which revealed that about half needed to raise additional capital to keep them strongly capitalized and lending even if economic conditions worsen. Whether any of the institutions will have to participate in CAP has yet to be determined. While the Federal Reserve disclosed the stress test results, it has no plans to disclose information about the 19 institutions going forward. What information, if any, is disclosed will be left to the discretion of the affected institutions raising a number of concerns including potentially inconsistent or only selected information being disclosed. Moreover, the Federal Reserve had not developed a mechanism to share information with OFS about the ongoing condition of the 19 bank holding companies that continue to participate in TARP programs. According to Treasury, its Financial Stability Plan has provided a basis for its communication strategy. Treasury plans to more regularly communicate with congressional committees of jurisdiction about TARP. However, until this strategy is fully implemented, all congressional stakeholders will not be receiving information in a consistent or timely manner. A key component of the communication strategy is the new www.financialstability.gov Web site. While a goal of the new site is to provide the public with a more user friendly format, Treasury has not yet measured the public's satisfaction with the site. OFS has made progress in establishing its management infrastructure. Continued attention to hiring remains important because some offices within OFS, including the Office of the Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, continue to have a number of vacancies that will need to be filled as TARP programs are fully implemented. Treasury has also continued to build a network of contractors and financial agents to support TARP administration and operations. These contracts and agreements are key tools OFS has used to help develop and administer its TARP programs. Treasury has provided information to the public on procurement contracts and financial agency agreements, but has not included a breakdown of cost data by each entity. As a result, Treasury is missing an opportunity to provide additional transparency about TARP operations.
[Washington, D.C.] : U.S. Govt. Accountability Office, 
1 online resource (v, 108 p.) : ill.